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Alex Wurz – The Forgotten One

There has been a lot of talk of who will be the quickest rookie this year, with Hamilton and Kovalainen emerging as the most likely candidates (a fair bet, since they’re in the quickest cars) and Adrian Sutil getting the occasional mention. Kubica gets honorary rookie status in view of his late addition to the ranks last year, as does Anthony Davidson since he had so few races and those so long ago.

But poor old Alexander Wurz never gets a look-in. Of course, with 53 GPs under his belt, he’s no rookie, but his race as stand-in for Montoya at Imola in 2005 was his only GP in seven years. That’s almost long enough to include him with the other newbies.


Alex Wurz

Alex’s curse has been that he’s the best test driver out there – hence his years of testing with McLaren and Williams. His racing reputation was severely mauled by his last year with Benetton when his teammate, Fisichella, proved quicker. So Alex is regarded as a known quantity, quick occasionally but inconsistent.

But I wonder. Part of his problem has been his height – on occasion he has had difficulty fitting into the car and this must surely make driving a bit more awkward. Look how Mark Webber has been griping about the Red Bull RB3 pinching his rear end.

Even so, Alex managed a third place in that lone race in 2005 – not bad for a guy making his comeback after a long break. There is just a chance that he might show up his young sidekick, Nico Rosberg, in the other Williams. And, if the Williams proves as quick in the races as it has been in testing, we could see Wurz appearing much closer to the front than anyone expects.

It is not that I am expecting any miracles from Alex this season; more that I hope he can get in there and mix things up even more than they are at present. F1 really needs a championship fought out between several drivers and the more wild cards added to the deck, the more likely it is that that will happen.

So I wish Alex the best of luck – may he puncture more than a few over-inflated egos this year. And let us see that great, beaming, goofy smile again as he tots up the points.

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